Messi in contention to end Ronaldo's Globe Soccer Awards dominance

By Sports Desk October 30, 2019

Lionel Messi will be hoping to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo at the Globe Soccer Awards after both were named among the nominees for the Best Men's Player for 2019.

Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool team-mates Alisson, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are also up for the annual honour, which is to be presented in Dubai on December 29.

Bernardo Silva, part of the Manchester City side largely snubbed at the FIFA Best awards, rounds out the seven-man field.

Juventus forward and five-time winner Ronaldo claimed the main prize for the third consecutive year in 2018.

Barcelona superstar Messi has won it once, in 2015.

United States stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan headline the contenders for the Best Women's Player title.

Lyon trio Amandine Henry, Lucy Bronze and Ada Hegerberg are all shortlisted and the French outfit have been nominated for Best Club, alongside Liverpool and Ajax.

Jurgen Klopp, Erik ten Hag, Fernando Santos and Djamel Belmadi, who guided Algeria to victory at the Africa Cup of Nations, are in contention to succeed Didier Deschamps as Best Coach, as is former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Other award categories include Best Agent, Best Sporting Director and Best Revelation, designed to recognise emerging players.

Inter's Antonio Conte, ex-England manager Fabio Capello and Portugal legend Luis Figo form part of the judging panel.

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  • Messi to Inter? Only if Zanetti convinces him, says Veron Messi to Inter? Only if Zanetti convinces him, says Veron

    Lionel Messi is free to negotiate a move to clubs outside LaLiga and Juan Sebastian Veron thinks Javier Zanetti will be key to Inter's hopes of signing the Barcelona superstar.

    Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is in the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou, having failed to engineer a move away during the close season.

    The 33-year-old has long been linked with a switch to Serie A giants Inter, where his former Argentina team-mate Zanetti – the Albiceleste's most-capped player of all time – is vice-president.

    Former Nerazzurri and Argentina midfielder Veron does not expect Messi to be at Inter next season, but believes it will be down to Zanetti if he does complete a move to San Siro.

    "I don't think he can go to Italy. If he will, it is because of Javier Zanetti, who knows him and will try to talk to him, making him feel important again and to explaining the future projects of the club," Veron told Stats Perform News.

    "At the end of the day it is purely Messi's decision. But if Inter want to make an attempt, they have to use seduction and get to his heart to draw him near. 

    "I don't know how many more years Messi wants to play at this level, but if you want to sign him, Inter have to make Messi their flagship and make clear they want to be at the top level."

    After a 2-0 victory over Juventus on Sunday, Inter sit second in Serie A three points behind leaders Milan.

    Antonio Conte's side have not been lacking in attack this term, though, with Romelu Lukaku (12 goals, three assists) and Lautaro Martinez (nine goals, three assists) developing a potent partnership in the league.

    No forward in Serie A to have played at least 10 games this season has had more Opta-defined 'big chances' than Lukaku, whose tally of 20 is only matched by Edin Dzeko and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Belgium international has the best conversion rate of the trio, scoring from 12 such openings for a 60 per cent success ratio. Ronaldo is second on 55 per cent, while Dzeko is third on 35 per cent.

    Messi has scored 11 goals and assisted two more in LaLiga this term, while converting 58.3 per cent (seven out of 12) of his big chances.

    The Barca captain's 35 key passes are only bettered by Iago Aspas (37), and his 100 attempts on goal in the Spanish top flight this season are almost twice as many as Karim Benzema (51) in second.

  • Huntelaar leaves Ajax to join Schalke survival push: 'I want to play my part!' Huntelaar leaves Ajax to join Schalke survival push: 'I want to play my part!'

    Klaas Jan Huntelaar is heading back to Schalke for one last mission in his career after leaving Ajax to join a battle to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.

    The 37-year-old former Milan and Real Madrid striker recently announced he would retire at the end of this season, and Huntelaar now says he wants to "play my part" in saving lowly Schalke.

    He previously played for Schalke from 2010 until 2017, scoring 126 goals for the Royal Blues before heading to Ajax, and he departs the Dutch giants to join a team now coached by Christian Gross.

    Schalke sit bottom of the Bundesliga with seven points from 16 games, having won only once in the league this season.

    Huntelaar told Schalke's website: "We need to win games and score goals to climb up the table. I want to play my part in the club staying up. Schalke belongs in the Bundesliga and it's our responsibility to make sure that we stay here."

    The moves means Huntelaar's Ajax playing career is over after a second spell in Amsterdam, having first caught the eye there from 2006-08, opening the door to his San Siro and Santiago Bernabeu stints and a career in the Netherlands national team.

    In all, Huntelaar scored 158 goals in 257 official games for Ajax. He won an Eredivisie title in the 2018-19 season.

    Marc Overmars, director of football at Ajax, said it was the honourable thing to do to let Huntelaar ride to the rescue of his old team.

    "It was Klaas Jan's wish to help Schalke avoid relegation in the last four months of his career," Overmars told Ajax's website.

    "We thought it was important for him to let this move go through and fill his shoes internally with Lassina Traore and Brian Brobbey. We wish the best for Klaas Jan with this transfer and thank him very much for everything he has done for Ajax."

  • 'Hope dies last' - Flick has heard nothing from Alaba over reported Madrid move 'Hope dies last' - Flick has heard nothing from Alaba over reported Madrid move

    Hansi Flick insists he has heard nothing from David Alaba about a transfer to Real Madrid amid reports the defender has agreed to join the LaLiga champions.

    Alaba will be out of contract at Bayern at the end of the season and Spanish sports newspaper Marca claimed on Monday that agreement on a four-year deal at the Santiago Bernabeu had been reached.

    However, Alaba's father and advisor denied that is the case while Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refused to discuss the issue in his media conference on Tuesday.

    Despite the reports, Flick appears to still be hopeful Alaba could remain with Bayern, though he accepts matters appear to be trending in a different direction.

    Bayern head coach Flick told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's clash with Augsburg: "Those are things that are always possible when there is a transfer window and contracts are expiring.

    "At the moment I have to admit that I have not heard anything from him regarding this topic. Hope dies last.

    "However, I know that things are moving towards a direction which means change for the team.

    "David Alaba showed a good performance against Freiburg and it is important for him to stay focused. That is how I experience him, as does the whole team.

    "We have to continue. We know things like this are possible in football and that there are always changes at the end of a season.

    "Change also has the potential to develop the team. We'll have to wait and see what happens. There's nothing more we can do at the moment."

    Flick indicated that if Alaba does depart at the end of the season, Bayern will move quickly to find a replacement for the Austria international.

    "Obviously, David Alaba is a player who is not only valuable for the team on the pitch, but also in the locker room and elsewhere," Flick added.

    "But these kind of things [transfers] happen. Where the road takes him, we don't know. We have to wait and see what happens. I'm not having any thoughts around that at the moment.

    "It is clear though that if a player of his calibre leaves the club, the club has to react and get another player. The future will tell what happens.

    "Currently, this is not a topic for me because we will have this squad until the end of the season, so the focus is on this team and all the players we have available.

    "What happens after that is a new chapter for the club and the team, and one has to make the best of it then."

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